I recently saw the following message on a sign in front of a local church: What part of SHALT NOT don’t you understand. Of course it refers to the admonitions stated in the Good Book known as the Big X or the Big Ten. Recently I heard a person who offered a comment concerning how a friend dealt with one of these no-nos, the shall nots, in the Bible.
The friend is a seemingly intelligent person who has professional responsibilities, a family man but now divorced, one who is a regular attendee at church services and indeed an important member of the performing choir. He appears to be knowledgeable in the faith statements of his denomination and can offer well reasoned comments about biblical teachings. But that does not prevent him from offering challengeable comments on some of the church’s untouchables. He has a serious side, but he also can offer surprising ‘light-hearted?’ remarks about his religious beliefs that might raise the eye brows of those who hold to some of the traditional, infallible biblical teachings. One wonders if his comments are actually firmly held bedrock beliefs or if they are simply meant to shock his listeners. Sometimes when there is a comment made that is wildly contrary to the ‘official’ understanding, it causes one to rethink seriously his/her position.
Getting back to the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments “X” given by God to Moses on two stone tablets at Mount Sinai during the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, this Christian brother has a different take on the seventh commandments that states, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
The contrarian view held by this independently minded believer begs to differ with the strict interpretation held by most believers of this seventh commandment. The text is succinct and unambiguous to most readers, but there is an alternate view in his opinion.
Actually he says that he is not opposed to this moral imperative, it’s just that he would not give it its biblical prominence as one of the big ten. He offers another suggestion. In place of the current seventh commandment, he would offer a substitute. In place of the one dealing with adultery, he would henceforth add one he favors: Thou shalt not commit animal cruelty.
Being an advocate of animal rights and a champion of the PETA principles (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the holder of this rather unorthodox, some say heretical view, almost always stands alone in the company of believers.
One questions the sincerity of his rather unconventional belief, questioning whether he actually stands by his stated conviction or if his intention is to play the role of the devil’s advocate thereby hoping to generate a conversation on the topic.
Maybe his idea is that the “rules” are not actually commandments but rather suggestions that are open to interpretation.
Perhaps there should instead have been an XI eleventh Commandments he reasoned.
By the way, another possible replacement for the seventh commandment that came in second was an alternate which lost. It was “Thou shalt not jaywalk.”
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547

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